The Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve was created on June 27th, 1979 in order to protect forested lowland areas surrounding the Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf) and the Osa Peninsula in Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. These are fragmented, dense evergreen forests which provide a biological corridor, connecting Corcovado National Park with Piedras Blancas National Park.
This forest reserve is nestled in Golfo Dulce, a large bay ringed by rivers and secluded beaches with calm waters, which offers a great attraction to tourists seeking peaceful swimming, or to get pleasure from nature, wildlife and birdwatching. It is one of the few places in the world where you can enjoy the shade of the rainforest from a kayak or boat while observing its unique wildlife or swimming in crystal waters.
Most of the lowlands surrounding the Golfo Dulce are characterized by tall evergreen forest, from 100 to 140 ft, and it is one of the wettest places in the world, with an average annual rainfall of 150 to 200 inches.
The Osa Peninsula has been named by the National Geographic as one of the most bio-diverse places on earth, it is home to an abundant plant and animal life, with some of the rarest ones on the planet. This forest reserve is made up of a tropical rain forest and protects all timber-wood species in the zone. The most numerous tree species are Epená (Virola koschnyi), Purpleheart (Peltogyne purpurea, a species with extremely beautiful purple wood), and Camibar (Copaifera camibar), which is known as Camibar oil and is used in popular medicine to cure wounds, particularly as a scar healing method.
Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve is a great place to observe nature at its most pristine. Monkeys are the most common residents here followed by tapirs, coatis, tayras or tolomucos, anteaters, sloths, many big cats and numerous bird species as macaws, toucans, trogones, pelicans and gulls. Moreover, the region where the forest meets the sea at the mouths of rivers makes impressive mangroves that are breeding grounds for many marine species such as dolphins, rays, eels, jumping fishes, as well as spectacular humpback whales and their calves during the months from December to May.
Though there are no public facilities at Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve, tourists are welcome to visit and enjoy the tremendous wealth of wildlife found here. Other nearby parks include Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park, Golfito National Wildlife Refuge and Carate National Wildlife Refuge.
Getting to Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve:
From San Jose, take the Pan-American Highway south towards Panama. At the town of Rio Claro, take the exit to Golfito. Accessible either from the town of Puerto Jimenez or Chacarita, since the highway from Chacarita to Puerto Jiménez crosses a large part of this reserve. The total distance from San Jose is about 7 hours.
You can take a bus from the route San Jose – Golfito, which takes about 8 hours (Tracopa-Alfaro, 2221-4214). From here you can take rent a car and drive or take a taxi to Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve. We recommend buying the ticket a day earlier to be sure your seat is saved.
You can also take a bus from the route San Jose – Puerto Jimenez, which takes about 8 hours (Transportes Blanco, 2771-4744). From here you can rent a car and drive or take a taxi to the reserve. We recommend buying the ticket a day earlier to be sure your seat is saved.
You can also take a flight from the Juan Santamaria Airport to the Golfito or Puerto Jimenez Airports, either with Sansa or Nature Air airlines, both with daily flights. From here you can rent a car and drive or take taxi to Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve, which is about 20 minutes.
Location: Osa Peninsula in Golfo Dulce, southern Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Golfito GPS Coordinates: 8.638792,-83.166678 (8°38’19.65″N, 83°10’00.04″W)
Puerto Jimenez GPS Coordinates: 8.535819,-83.303914 (8°32’08.95″N, 83°18’14.09″W)
Size: 60,565 ha (149,593 acres)
Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA) Telephone: +(506) 2735-5580 / 2735-5276
INFOTUR Tourist Information: 1192